COVID-19 is driving leaders to get creative and learn from industries and sectors outside of their own. The goal for this free webinar, hosted on Friday, April 17, was to showcase how for-profit, non-profit and government leaders are adapting their day-to-day operations to the times and pull out insights that we can all learn from.
This webinar features:
Moderator Kimberly Kane – President, Kane Communications Group
Kimberly Kane 0:02
All right. Hello, everyone. I’m Kimberly Kane, President and CEO of Kane Communications Group. We’re thrilled to have you with us for this conversation over your lunch hour. And thank you very much for your patience and getting started. We’ve had a lot of people joining us at the last moment. And I’m looking forward to what I’m sure will be a very enlightening conversation today with three leaders in three very different industries. We’ll be talking about adaptability in leadership. You know, adaptability is a skill that has been tried, and it’s been tested by many leaders, but much more these days and most folks have experienced, even those who have led companies through the Great Recession didn’t have to manage the dual public health crisis and economic crisis that leaders today are being faced with. So we have, as I mentioned, three panelists and those panelists include Racine Mayor Cory Mason, Mayor Mason, thank you so much for being with us.
My pleasure. We have Community Care Inc CEO, Kenneth Munson. KENNETH, thank you for being with us today.
Kenneth Munson 1:08
Thank you glad to be here.
Kimberly Kane 1:10
And John Kissinger is the CEO of Milwaukee-based GRAEF. All of you gentlemen, I’ve had the chance to speak with you throughout the week. And I know all of you are being tested every day. But you’re here with us to share lessons and insights that I’m certain we can all learn from. So thank you again. Now, before we get started, I just want to go through a few kind of blocking and tackling elements. So everyone who has joined us on this webinar really understands how to get engaged and how much we’re looking forward to, you’re getting engaged. So first of all, those of you who have joined us on the webinar, on get familiar with that chat function, feel free to chat to us what industry you’re in.
What you’re most interested in learning about adaptability today, and then as we start getting going, what I’m going to do to keep things organised is spend about five to seven minutes with each one of our leaders. We’ll open up the floor to that leader and then I’ll ask one or two questions, then we’ll move to the next leader. So we’ll spend about the first 20 minutes or so hearing from each individual. Then we’ll open up the floor for questions. I’ll ask one or two. And then Sarah Fraser, who is our VP of Marketing and strategy. You can see Sara up at the top of your screen.
Sarah will be weighing in with some of the questions that she is, is gaining from each of you through the chat function. So and then, you know, we’ll talk through those questions and wrap things up at the end. How’s that sound?
You guys ready? Yes.
Mayor Mason, we’re going to go ahead and begin with you. And I really had a chance to spend a little bit of time on the phone with you this morning. And I know that this has been a day that is really testing your adaptability. It’s interesting because one of the things you and I have talked about is if government doesn’t have a reputation
For being adjustable, that you have described 2020 as the year of adaptability, why don’t you talk a little bit about that?
Mayor Cory Mason 3:08
Yeah. 2020 has been a different sort of year for us here in the city of Racine. I mean, it’s been this way with everybody dealing with Coronavirus, certainly but, you know, we started out this year. Within the same week, the fourth week of January, we had a federal emergency declared on our lakefront with the big storm that came through and doing 10s of millions of dollars of damage to our lakefront. And then two days after that the city was hit with a cyber attack, and that we had to wait our way through and then, you know, we’re all dealing with Coronavirus, and changing how day to day operations of the city and day to day life works for our businesses and our residents. So it’s really been a here that is required out of necessity, as to adapt and change and realize that can’t be business as usual, and that we have to marshal our resources as well. quickly as we can to respond to the challenges that are in front of us.
Kimberly Kane 4:03
Yeah. And before you stepped into your position as mayor, the city of Racine, you spent a number of years in the legislature talking about the difference for you in terms of decision making adaptability between, you know, being in the legislature now, essentially being the CEO of a $200 million business with more than 700 employees.
Mayor Cory Mason 4:22
Yeah, it’s much different. I mean, when you’re a legislator, you’re one of 99. You know, they they recess for, you know, six months at a time before they come back or for the campaign season. I mean, it’s a lot of work to be a legislator, but you’re, you’re impacting things on a statewide level. If you pass a law, you may not get to see how its implemented on the ground. exact opposite at local government. I mean, local government really is the most tangible form of government services that people encounter. It’s you know, whether or not they’ve got clean water, it’s whether or not somebody picks up your garbage. It’s whether or not you can vote safely. It’s all those things that come into play at the local level. And executing it effect effectively is something that your understanding we held you account for because people give you immediate feedback if it’s not going well. So it’s really required me to learn how to provide services. In a way we’re used to being very real, very tangible terms. Is this working or is it not?
Kimberly Kane 5:20
And so let’s get into that just a little bit more. Going back to that concept that government is not normally considered adaptable. How have you made government nimble, unable to adapt to change while meeting the needs of people here in the city of Racine?
Mayor Cory Mason 5:35
Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, we are definitely pressing on the parts of people’s job descriptions that says all other duties as assigned at this point. But I can give you some examples. So, for example, the library and the community centers are closed right now. And so we redeployed those staff people to help us safely run these elections as quickly and as accurately as we could by converting our elections. In the drive thru so that people didn’t have to stand in long lines in school or church basements, and gymnasiums, that required a lot of extra people that required a lot of transitioning, and a lot of, we’re going to try something we’ve never done before. And I guess they will say, you know, government is they’re known for being sort of reliable, doing the same thing over and over again, like, it’s good that somebody comes to get your trash every week, right? It’s good that when you turn the faucet on that there’s always clean water that comes out of it. So you want that consistency. But I’ll also say, you know, the people who go into public service, usually they’re doing it because they see themselves as part of something bigger than themselves. And so the spirit of service that people have exhibited here, this is a receipt in their willingness to step up and do something that they’ve never done before, you know, Park and library staff helping out with elections and development in the assessor’s office pitching in as well. It’s just been a really great thing to see that happened. You know, it’s required us to sort of lead there. And show people that there’s different priorities right now. But I’ve been really pleased with how well people step up in these emergencies to deal with very difficult situations. And government is always called on to do this. But if you think about, you know, big transitions that we’ve had to make in this society, whether it’s getting us through war or depressions or transitions in, in cultural changes in the civil rights movement, it’s often government that ultimately has to step up and play that role, and do so effectively. Otherwise, there’s no further consequences down the road.
Kimberly Kane 7:32
Yeah, yeah. Thank you, Mayor. We’re gonna we’re gonna jump over and bring kind of months and in for a moment, but stay with us because we’ve got some questions for you at the end. So thank you. Thank you. So Kenneth Munson is the CEO of community care in Canada. We’ve had the chance also to talk quite a bit this week, about how COVID-19 has really impacted your organization and your staff and how you’re managing through this.
You are, you know, Kenneth, you run a managed care organization. CCI in fact cares for any vulnerable individuals across the state of Wisconsin, I think in 15 counties. And one thing that really hit home to me is you and I were talking earlier this week is that COVID-19 presents a serious threat to every individual that you care for and your employees. How are you helping everyone managed through that keeping everyone safe and keeping your healthcare employees safe?
Kenneth Munson 8:32
Well, the starting point, since we are a health care and long term care organization, we have some background, some history, some foundation in dealing with infection with disease. So from the beginning, we saw this start to emerge. We were I don’t say lucky, but it was helpful that we had a foundation already. So for example, obviously we’re healthcare organization. We have nurses, we have doctors. We have any infection control coordinator. So from the very beginning of this began to emerge, we brought our leadership together our executive leadership myself, as well as our other executive ship, and the dis sort of a specialist to start planning and deciding where we go. So I don’t want to say that we were ahead of the game, but we were certainly ready to move. So we, by having those daily, weekly, we were able to engage the experts, our medical directors, our infection control people, our HR folks try to figure out how best to to help keep people safe. And it really ends up being sort of a ratchet up. We started off by burden. We didn’t have to be in the office to stay out of the office to stay home. We started off by in some areas at some of our facilities, having temperatures taken at the front door, to make sure to favorites and as we as things became more serious We ratcheted up with those preventive measures. In fact, as the we knew what was coming with the governor’s paper at home decision, and we decided before that we were going to move from encouraging people to stay home to mandate and they stay at home. So we have a situation where we were able to, day by day work through think about these things based on our own experience and healthcare learn from characterization, and our understanding of what the other organizations that is the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the department health services, the guidance they were giving, so we had a lot of information and focused review, and we had the infrastructure to start with, so we ended up doing those things. But in fact, I should say we also already had the personal protective equipment. We had mass, we had gloves, we had downs. So even though we could not have In our wildest dreams thought this was what was going to happen. Really, we had done the foundational work in planning how to respond. months ago, years ago, a decade ago, we’re ready to respond.
Kimberly Kane 11:15
Yeah. Well, you know, I want to follow up a little bit about that. Because, you know, you’re in a regulated industry, and being in a highly regulated industry actually might be helpful in this case, how has I was being in a regulated industry really giving you advantage? And what can leaders learn from that?
Kenneth Munson 11:37
I think it is helpful in the sense that we have, we work by contract with the state, federal government to do the work that we do. So there is a lot of regulation all and Administrative Code that at least it helps to guide what we’re going to do and we work around it and you figure out how we’re going to die, but it means that there is a common interest, a partnership, as you talked to the mayor about local government, realistically, we are in partnership with state and federal governments. And sometimes it’s been seen that way. We’re not happy with regulation. Because certainly when something like this occurs, it actually wants to make it simpler. But it makes it more straightforward to have the conversation and say, This is what we’re doing to have the state or the federal regulators say, that complies with the law, or that doesn’t comply. Or in this case, let me give you a concrete example. We have requirements to do home visiting to visit the people in their homes at certain intervals. Well, in certain programs, the state could say and he did say, you don’t have to do those home visits within this interval, or you can do some visits by telephone. So in that sense, that clarity from those regulators and our funders, actually makes it somewhat easier in figuring out how to go from here doesn’t mean the channel Still there, but it does give some some good guidelines.
Kimberly Kane 13:04
Right? Well, and one I think interesting point about that is, you know, there’s clarity on kind of that core role is always going to be responsible for well, things may be changing around them, whether they’re regulations that may be changing around them or our environment, right, because of what’s happening with COVID-19.
Something else you mentioned that I thought was interesting kind of is that really adaptability is part of the culture at at CCI, in fact, adaptability is part of your onboarding process, correct?
Kenneth Munson 13:37
Yeah, I mean, it’s central to how we view our organization in the work that we do when I’ve been CEO for seven years. And from the first speech and meetings I gave, my focus has been about being ready for change and to be adaptable in our activities and our processes and procedures, practices. And that’s because we can see around them us in health care and long term care, continue to change even the fact that we’re in a competitive environment and we’re not competitive. We compete with for profits as well as nonprofits. So that core idea, the very start has been my focus and for the organization, as you suggest, we have, have always made a clear focus on being adaptable ready for change, in part because there has been change in this environment, so you can’t not be ready for it. So for us, I guess the way I’d put it that sort of, maybe emphasize what you said a moment ago is that you can be adaptable, you can be ready for change. And it helps to understand what your core is what your core mission is. So in my mind, it’s easier. It’s critical to be adaptable, but not to leave sight or lose sight of your core things that matter to you. And again, I mentioned to you in our conversation that years ago I hadn’t had the good experience to talk to a person named David Sachs, who was a futurist, he talks to companies, and as a consultant to talk to you about how to how to deal with change in the future. And one of the things he said that stuck with me was that we always focus on the change, what’s going to happen in 10, in 10 years, are they gonna be flying cars is gonna be just a new way of doing X, Y, and Z. But we don’t as often focus on what stays the same or what remains. And for me and for us, the important thing is to say, yes, you adapt, you change, have a foundation in service to that core, those values, those things that you know, you continue doing, and you’re caring about. So for us, it’s won’t belabor this, but obviously the care of vulnerable people, their health care, their long term care, and then secondly, we’re good stewards of the public dollar. They really are interesting to us today. Those are the core things. Things most things don’t change.
Kimberly Kane 16:02
Yeah. And I think that’s a really valuable clarity. But I’m not sure many people really look for within of their own jobs or the scope of their position descriptions. What are the core things that I’m responsible for? Where May I not to be adaptable? So that was really good insights. KENNETH, thank you very much.
Let’s, let’s bring john Kissinger into into the conversation now. And John love your background, I realized that you and GRAEF have recently moved into just beautiful headquarters in the city of Milwaukee. You’re not able to be in those headquarters right now. You’ve been led GRAEF through just a significant and exciting growth and expansion over the past couple of years. A lot of plans in the works that have been paused to some degree because of COVID-19. Talk about how this pandemic is affecting things for grief right now.
I’m not able to hear john john, it looks like you’re on mute. If you go right there,
John Kissinger 17:15
you know I that’s a zoom.
Kimberly Kane 17:20
Not a problem. We’ve got you now.
John Kissinger 17:22
Yeah, sorry about that. But I was saying yeah, I think adaptability is a good a good format because all of us who are in business or the nonprofit world or government are in unchartered waters right now. So this is certainly you know, a month ago. Everything was different than it is our goals were different. What we had planned to do in the next six weeks was different. I mean, it’s just been a turning the world almost upside down in a very short amount of time. So we certainly are trying to as I I mentioned to you and we talked the other day, we’ve kind of been thrown, thrown through a loop and been playing defense. And we’re now starting to get our legs under us and looking to get back on offense here. As far as our business goes, and kind of adjust to the new normal.
Kimberly Kane 18:18
Let’s talk about some of the steps you’re taking to adjust to the new normal. You mentioned, there are areas that you’re really focused on right now.
John Kissinger 18:26
Well, yeah, when we started out, you know, there, we looked at it in three phases, which the first one was how do we keep everybody safe and provide them a safe work environment, which in our case meant most of our employees working from home and we have eight offices as far away as in Miami, and, you know, and a number in the Midwest, so it isn’t just one size fits all. solution to that. In addition, we have field people who can’t work from home so we had to work through that process as everybody did, about how to provide a safe work environment and go to remote working. And then the second phase was, how do we keep the company afloat with the amount of cash that we need to function. We were concerned that our cash receipts might fall off. And that actually did happen. And we needed to make sure we had the equipment liquidity we needed to get us through however long this crisis lasts, and we’ve been able to, to do that. And are in good shape there. So now we’re really into the third phase, which is what is the future going to be how is this really going to impact our impact our business, when it’s all over? And how is it going to change? And I think there’s a subset of that. A third phase, which is when we do return to the office. What do we need to do? You mentioned we have this brand new office. Now the office was designed to encourage people to bump into each other and to have casual conversations. collisions. And I think when we get back, we’re gonna have to be kind of the opposite of that. So we’re gonna have to figure out a lot of things about our office environment when we do come back.
Kimberly Kane 20:09
Right? And you’re clearly not making these decisions on your own. Something that you shared with me that I thought was really interesting is you’re bringing together almost a gang of rivals. I think that was a term that you brought, I mean, a leadership team that’s asking tough questions. And I think that concept is so important for leaders today. There’s so much on your shoulders. You talk a little bit about those meetings and really the litmus that you’re using to make decisions and to guide some of those decisions as far as how quickly you need to make them and and when you need to, to bring in more information.
John Kissinger 20:43
Yeah, there was a book that Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote 10 or 20 years ago called team of rivals about Abraham Lincoln and how he went through the Civil War and had his cabinet purposely set up. And I wouldn’t say we’re quite that way, but we do have a weekly meeting. With our senior management from around the country, and we do have very robust discussion on possible scenarios and courses of action. And that’s been very helpful to just have that kind of worked out, you know, test some theories, you know, it’s a very senior group, we can be very open with one another. And it’s, it’s very helpful to test ideas with that group before you have to make a decision as to which way you go. So we’ve been fortunate to have a strong senior leadership team that can we can kick these things around.
Kimberly Kane 21:42
Right, right. You know, you talked about scenario planning, and really using and I don’t know the right terminology, but it kind of the problem solving skills that engineers have to apply to everything. And many of us don’t have those skills. So maybe you can share a little bit of insight with us, john about that. What that scenario planning looks like in the war room, if you will add grief and and how are you taking a look at those scenarios and testing them through to help you decide really what the right decision is to make at this time?
John Kissinger 22:14
Yeah, when I’m trained as an engineer, and one of the advantages, I think that I have that we have as an engineer, it’s it’s we’re taught a discipline of problem solving. And that discipline is essentially you take a complex problem, and you break it down into a series of simpler problems, and you try and solve those problems, and you reassemble them to solve the more complex problem. And so there’s a certain discipline and process involved in that. And so, you know, being engineers, we don’t just want to decide on the official version of the future and start heading for that we’d like to, we know we have a process that we want to go through, that’s a kind of an organized process of scenario planning to look because there could be, you know, a lot of different comes here. And so we would like to have plans together for one scenario, where there’s a V shaped recovery perhaps and another where it’s a much longer recovery one scenario where, you know, things get back to normal in the work environment and another one where they don’t so, and various ones that are probably more that we just really haven’t thought through yet. So that’s an important part. That’s why it was so important to get our our business stabilized and not have to be worried about where the money was coming from to give us the runway to do the planning that we really need to do to be successful coming out of this.
Kimberly Kane 23:39
Yeah, start doing that really critical thinking. Last question I want to ask you before I open up it up to a group discussion is, let’s call it a light at the end of the tunnel. You used another term that I think we all really want to hold on to and that is, you know, we’ve been playing defense for quite some time for the past six weeks, two months, but You said, Now it’s time for grave to start going on the offense. What does that mean? And what can that mean for other business leaders? How do we decide how do we know when it’s time to start going on on the offense?
John Kissinger 24:13
Well, I think you have to make sure that your business that your people are safe, that they’re functioning, and that your business is is stable before you know you can get off of defense, but you know, it’s just like anything you there’s denial and anger and depression and then you start and so you know, we’ve kind of gone through all of that with this. And now we’re back into the adaptability part of it. And the playing offense. Part of it is you know, what is going to be coming out of this. It’s not, obviously we’re going to go through some really tough times but though there will be opportunities in the near term and long term, and we still have a business to run we still need to get talked to our clients, we still need to communicate with our with our state stakeholders, and we can’t just, you know, go sit in the corner and pout. So it was a shock. And, you know, I think we went through shock and denial and anger, you know, when all of this first started, but now we’re back to we have a business to run. And whatever their environment is for that business, we have to figure out the absolute best way to adapt to it in order to be successful. Right, right.
Kimberly Kane 25:25
And I want to talk a little bit more about that, in particular, especially considering the political environment in just a few moments. But let’s open it up to broader questions. And that may or may not have flown here and getting a little feedback, turn the volume down there. And okay, you can still hear me because I want to make sure that you’re being pulled into this conversation. Um, you know, one thing that happened for me as a business owner right out of the blocks, and I’ve talked about this a couple of times is I wasn’t prepared for I was prepared to make tough decisions as a business leader. Always looking You know, months out at where we need to be not just where we are today, but where we need to be three months from now, six months from now. What I wasn’t prepared for was the looks on the faces of my employees on was Monday, March 17. When I came into the office after being on site with a client, doing some crisis, communications, and it fear, fear in the eyes of my employees fear for their own safety, fear because of the unknown. And I think this fear hasn’t gone away. There’s uncertainty, but there’s still fear for our health feel fear for our family’s health and fear for the future of our jobs of our companies. I’m curious about how each of you has experienced that emotion with your employees and as leaders, how you’re helping to guide them through fear when there still are so many unknowns, and Kenneth why don’t we go ahead and start with you. This conversation?
Kenneth Munson 27:02
Well, I think the first thing is, is communication. And part of being a leader is to communicate to the people that you work with who work with you. We have about 1000 people across the state. And one of the first things that apparent to me was that first I as a CEO needed to respond and not just respond as to where the business was going, where the financial crimes were, those are really important. But for us, because we have people doing direct care, we’re wearing gowns, roadmaps, we’re worried about contracting COVID-19 to talk about specifically their fears and understandable how their food for themselves and their families understandable, and then to talk about ways that we might help people to reduce stress, give people confidence through doing everything we could to make sure they weren’t safe as possible. And when we admitted that we would provide what information we could when we did positive tests in different locations. So it’s that communication that that starts with me or does start with me. But also we’ve had weekly communications since then we have intranet hubs, with lots of information are constantly talking to people about, you know, how you’re feeling what’s going on. And I have to say, it’s a balance, some people are to get to the point of being so fearful, they may not be able to continue doing the same work. And that you just have to acknowledge that that’s the reality of things for for the vast majority of people that work with us that core mission and importance of the mission and the reassurance we can give in the transparency we could provide, as I think been very helpful in alleviating some of those fears.
Kimberly Kane 28:48
And john, you had a an experience with some of your employees that you didn’t expect, that was tied to fear and you really had to kind of adjust your mindset. But talk about that journey.
John Kissinger 28:59
Yeah. We, you know, as I mentioned, we were all pretty much working from home, or remotely pretty quickly. And I had sent out I’ve been trying to, as Kenneth said, it’s important to communicate. So we were trying to communicate with everybody where we were, and I have some communication, talking about how everybody was able to work remotely now that needed to end and we have an office staff in Milwaukee that, you know, gets mail and recess, and things like that. And their their their supervisor came to me and said, well, we’re not working remotely. And you know, we don’t. And I said, Well, why is that? Well, we have to be here to get the mail. We have to be here to distribute things and to send things out for ups. And I said, certainly, there’s a way to do it answer the phones. And certainly there’s a way to do that without actually being that well turned out. There’s real concern was they were afraid that if they weren’t in the office, that they would be considered not essential to our business and maybe get laid off and I didn’t recognize that And I didn’t even know they were still working in the office, to be honest. So we, you know, we talked to them, so don’t worry about that, you know, that’s not gonna happen and, and they were able to work from home and get beyond that. So yeah, there’s people that you don’t even realize are fearful for reasons that you don’t even understand. And you have to,
Kimberly Kane 30:22
yeah, maybe a different level of kind of observation on questions you need to ask or step up to then you may anticipate as a leader, Mayor Mason I want to bring you into this conversation right now. Because, you know, I happen to live in Racine. And I see how many pieces on the chessboard, if you will, you’re having to move around in the face of uncertainty and the fear of the public but also individuals you’re bringing in to help protect the public. Talk a little bit about how you’re helping individuals work through that fear as a leader.
Mayor Cory Mason 30:54
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it is certainly a challenge for people to change under any circumstances, right? I mean, we’re creatures of habit. But when all these different dynamics come into place with the virus, and you know, first and foremost, people look at, what are we doing to protect people’s health, right? So just, for example, you know, we converted all of our election sites into drive throughs, so that people can be near each other. Right? That was a, that was a change that people had to adapt to. But right after the health care concerns, we’re hearing about the economic concerns that people have, as so much of everyday life has been suspended for a period of time. And so we worked very hard to reach out to small businesses and to communicate with them and actually hand out grants to small businesses to help them bridge the time between now and whenever we get to the other side of this. And that’s been really important for people to feel like, you know, the community is on their side and wants to help get them through. And the other thing that we’ve had to do is give people good data as we get it. I mean, certainly the comment earlier about Communication being key is so true in this that we’ve really leaned in with your group and others to really step up on communicating with the public. So they know what’s going on. Because the situation has dynamics that are changing day to day, and because there’s some bad information that’s out there, so we really have worked hard to get people the best information they can. And it doesn’t always assuage all there’s concerns, but at least they feel like they’re informed about what’s going on, and can make better decisions about what’s in front of them.
Kimberly Kane 32:34
yeah. I want to bring in a question that’s a little bit of a political hot potato, but I think it’s the right question to ask and as I’m looking at the chat session as well, this question is brought up in different ways as well in the chat session. So we all agree that there’s still a lot of uncertainty ahead. And in some ways, it feels like the health of the economy is being pitted against the public health right the health of people in our country. So my question is how can business industry and government all work together to bring the economy up while also protecting the health of people? And I’m going to add one more facet to that question just from from our chat. And that question is, you know, do you think that three of you, for the sectors that you represent, need to work more closely together or communicate better, to be more prepared in the future as well? So how our business and industry and government working together now to make the right decisions for people in the public health and our economy, and how do we improve that in the future? Who wants to take that one?
John Kissinger 33:50
Well, maybe I’ll jump in Kimberly. I think government has to take the lead, but business can certainly be a stakeholder have their their say, I think one of the issues that’s been a problem so I’m gonna I’m gonna state this right off the back the start is that I’ve seen a lot of people weighing in who really aren’t experts in infectious diseases or how they spread or what might happen. And I would sell and I would be one of them. So I’m I don’t think I should be necessarily making the decision. But I do think we can business and nonprofit world need to weigh in and be an input to government as to ideas that they have about how their businesses could more could better function. You know, I think the example that came out with the the safer from home extension, but allowing certain businesses, arts and crafts stores and golf courses to function as an example of that.
Kimberly Kane 34:51
Mayor do you want to weigh in on that question?
Mayor Cory Mason 34:53
Yeah, certainly. I mean, certainly the most immediate public private partnerships, we’ve had to really build I’m pleased to say build on and not start out with is, you know, certainly with our healthcare organizations that are in Racine County that are providing direct care, and what that’s gonna look like. And so the collaboration, there has been tremendous and very, very good. I think, in the midst of this, though, I mean, there’s always better relationships that you can build for these kinds of contingencies. The big thing I guess, I would say is we’re talking about the nonprofit sector or the for profit sector. For other areas, is that just the work that that we’ve been trying to do here to have data drive these decisions and not gates, I mean, one of the frustrating things about the safer at home extensions that you know, businesses are feeling is a lot of them were like, Okay, I need to get through next week, and then we can open the store or the restaurant back up. And, you know, seeing the extension does make them frustrated, understandably so because they’re trying to stay in business. But we really need to start explaining to the community and we need all the sectors to help do this, but You know, things will be able to be dialed back up as the governor put it. Once the data changes once we’re able to safely stop and mitigate the transmission of this disease once we’re able to see a decline in cases and God forbid more gaps. So those are the kinds of things that we need to be upfront with people about in terms of it needs to be data that’s going to drive this decision. And then we need to think creatively, as I think we’re trying to do about, okay, we get this order, right from the frying thing, the only thing we need to do to mitigate it, but as we learn more, can we be more flexible with businesses as time moves on to our very small numbers of customers and or allow people to do meetings by appointment or whatever it might be, as we try to learn as much as we can in the Coronavirus, so, it definitely requires flexibility, communication, and collaboration like we’ve never seen before. Of course, you can always improve on all those things. But I think the more you’re candid with people about what’s going on decision making and do that in a way that’s collaborative, the better off we’re going to be.
Kimberly Kane 37:04
Yeah. Or whatever question that might be relevant to you. And kind of you might want to weigh in on this as well. Question from a panelist is, you know, the government at all levels is critical and attend demick. Our politicians, the best people to be leading this, or should we have our healthcare sector? leading this mayor, why don’t you start? And then let’s, let’s have Kenneth weigh in on that?
Mayor Cory Mason 37:29
Yeah, that’s a great, that’s a great question. I mean, certainly I have more time with my public health administrator in the last two months than I have in the previous two years. I need to be both Right. I mean, you need elected officials who have their authority from the people who elect them in a democratic society doing this, but ideally, they’re doing it with good informed data that’s being given to them by healthcare professionals who know what they’re talking about, but you really need both and you need those to work in concert with them. Another, otherwise you can see him break down. And I think we’re I don’t want to get overly political here. But I think part of the challenge we’re having with mitigating Coronavirus was how long it took the federal government to ramp up to see this as a serious threat. I think sometimes that’s what happens when you have elected officials that don’t necessarily heed the warnings of health care professionals. So I understand the frustration about why people might then think maybe fewer elected officials are what’s needed, but you really do need both. And it’s a real test of leadership of both elected officials and healthcare professionals about how to not only make good decisions, but then how to get elected officials in the general public to adhere to that science based approach to the evidence that we need to make good decisions.
Kimberly Kane 38:43
And Kenneth, your your team is really on the ground floor of this work, not necessarily working in hospitals. But what is your perspective on that? And how does healthcare business you know, how do you build really respectful relationships with government so that when there are crises, and we have, again, this tool crisis of both a public health crisis and an economic crisis, that information is is really informing policy decisions.
Kenneth Munson 39:12
Well, I mean, I agree really, with what john mayer said, you have to pay out. The partnership we have to have belief building starts with, what’s the science, what’s the history? What’s the knowledge? Not what how do we wish things would be? So for example, it may well be that we would wish for will be able to open the state in the country next month or next week. But if we know that this science in the history of these kinds of viruses says that there may be another bump later on, or third, well, that has to be taken into account. And my concern is that we don’t, we haven’t at this point given enough credence to the science, the best practice to knowledge and so in this situation, I think it’s Just a matter of people sitting down. I mean, you have a legislator or governor or senator or President say, it’s not just going to be the way I want it to be, it’s going to be this the the knowledge we have, these are the testing data we have. This is what we know historically happens with a virus, if you don’t do X, Y, and Z, and make decisions based on that. Now, it’s easy for me to say that should happen. But what really has to happen is people have to have to give credence to the science, the knowledge, the history, and then sit down and utilize information down and correct. And again, I’m you know, I don’t mean to be Pollyanna, it doesn’t happen easily. But that’s what has to happen. And I hope that we can, we can see that happen. I mean, none of us wants to state us to have a premature sort of reopening of our economy. And then in September in November, we have a second round, where we don’t have the ventilators. We don’t have the technical equipment, and we’re doing. So I’m sorry, I can’t give you an answer other than to say it is critical for people to understand that we can’t just think short term. We can’t think this day this week, we have to think longer than that. And we can do it based upon actual, actual thought, actual science and the advice and the guidance of those who are experts in what happened to them.
Kimberly Kane 41:26
And to some degree, we’re talking about adaptability and decision making there. I’m watching the clock. And we have one final question, which I think is a really good question to lead us in the long stretch. And that is about your own adaptability, and tips that you have for leaders who are listening. So has each of you always been an adaptable leader? And what tips can you share with individuals who are listening about how they can learn to become adaptable? So can we have you up there on the screen so why don’t you start It’s not to be always been an adaptable leader. And and if it’s not, you know, how have you learned to be the adaptable leader you want today?
Kenneth Munson 42:07
Well, the answer is probably no. But given that my career sort of started in the 80s, I think it’s it’s improved over time. And part of it is just the requirement. If you weren’t an effective leader, there’s no way to be adaptable. I’ll just point you know, when I when I was growing up, my father was challenging that manufacturing concern that kind of business many years ago, and the idea in our household was to get a job and the job done to it. Do stick with that. That’s how you’re gonna support your family. As we all know, that’s not the world we live in. For sales, Chalmers going bankrupt. You just in my mind, you can’t be an effective leader. If you’re going to stick to one way of doing things it just is not possible. So from my perspective, one of the things that a good leader good leader understands is you’re going to have have challenges coming at you all the time. No, obviously not not nearly often something as big as a pandemic. But my thought has always been that a leader has to look at the 25 things 25 challenges coming down the road and try to use a good assessment of which those things are most important need to be focused on right now. Because the reality is, most things kind of fall off the road or somebody takes care of them or they don’t become the major challenges. So it really is just having a broad view of what’s coming down the road. And then being a stable, a mature, calm influence. When I say mature, I don’t mean in terms of age, I mean in terms of not being too up to down, but understanding the core of trying to accomplish your mission, whether you’re in the private sector in the for profit, nonprofit or government, just having a clear understanding and an equilibrium To get you through things, that’s the best way to describe it. I don’t think there’s any special magic or special tips. But to me that’s that’s my guiding star.
Kimberly Kane 44:10
Yeah, focus but flexibility. JOHN, why don’t we bring you into the discussion as an engineer? You know, Have you always been adaptable? Because, boy, not only do you have to be adaptable now, but you took grace through the great, great recession. But, you know, five to eight years ago or so, how have you learned how to be adaptable? What tips do you have for people?
John Kissinger 44:33
Yeah, I don’t think it’s my nature to be adaptable. I think I’ve had to learn you know, I’m a kind of person that likes to check things off the list and put them behind me but I’ve learned probably you know, Kenneth says maturity I’ve probably as much through the school of hard knocks as anything or maybe some by observation that you really have to, you know, the command and control and shooting from the hip You know, I think it might work for some, but I think it’s very difficult in the modern world. To do that you really just the way that society is and the way that businesses these days, you really have to be extremely adaptable to be able to turn on a dime. And be careful not to just assume that you know what the future is going to bring. So that’s something I’ve had to learn. As I’ve said, by engineering discipline, I think it’s helped me there to be recognized that if you go through the process, it does help you identify, you know, different things that you might not consider if you just jump to the solution. But I’ve had to learn to become adaptable over the years. It didn’t come to me naturally.
Kimberly Kane 45:44
Yeah, so you’re really kind of putting a decision to the sniff test, and making sure that they’re going to work in the long run. May or may soon let’s, let’s wrap things up with you. Have you always been an adaptable leader? And have you learned? If not, if you haven’t, how have you learned To become adaptable.
Mayor Cory Mason 46:01
Yeah, I’m certainly I mean, the great thing about democracy and elected office is it really requires you to be right up, you’re going to be up for election every two to four years. And so you’ve got to be willing to change. But I mean, generally speaking, the way of looking at the role of mayor, whether it’s preparing for climate change and the challenges of that, as are the inequities that exist in our community and the changes that we need to make there, or dealing with this crisis right now with Coronavirus, rarely in a democracy is the status quo where you want to be so, you know, my calling to public service generally has been about improving the lives of the constituents that I represent. So that’s always about change. And so, you know, this time of adaptation, learn how to acclimate with the challenges that are in front of you. And I really learned from them, and not only make it through them, but actually learn new things and improve as you’re doing it. Mm hmm.
Kimberly Kane 46:58
And there’s a book that you shared with anything you’re kind of reading about economics?
Mayor Cory Mason 47:04
Yeah, there’s a great book called nudge that I really appreciate about what is it that you can do when you communicate with the publisher, not necessarily through, you know, a new origin or a new law that you’ve passed just by encouraging people to compare their behaviors, their neighbors and think rationally about what they’re being asked to do to better outcomes and, and ideally, better buy in from your constituents. It’s really fascinating way to look at human behavior and encourage adaptation amongst your constituents in different ways that elected officials might not always think about,
Kimberly Kane 47:41
right well, and business leaders and all of us because you can be adaptable at the top right. And you may be standing at the 30,000 foot level, looking both at what’s happening today, but looking also kind of forward and where things are going and you may be able to develop those skills to be adaptable. But ultimately, I think we all need to learn how we can bring our stakeholders for our employees along with that journey, right? Especially as information is changing as quickly as it is in the era of Coronavirus.
Mayor Cory Mason 48:17
Essentially adaptation doesn’t work. If it’s just in a vacuum, you have to collaborate and you have to communicate if you want people to come along for the changes that we need to make.
Kimberly Kane 48:27
Okay, fantastic. So mayor, the book is nudge that you’re recommending people kind of tap into for some lessons on behavioral economics. I’m trying to remember Ken, if you talked about a futurist David Zak. Is that the name of the futurist that you recommended people maybe spend some time learning about?
Kenneth Munson 48:47
Yes, the name is Zack last name spelled z a ch.
Kimberly Kane 48:51
Great. And then I’m putting you on the spot. JOHN. We hadn’t prepared for this. But you know, you talked about the engineering principles, but are there any people Kind of lessons or authors that you might want to point individuals to, to learn just a little bit more about adaptability and flexibility, you know, during these changing times, um,
John Kissinger 49:12
yeah, you know, we did talk about that a little bit, Kimberly. And one thing that I think it’s interesting, it’s not a book. But if you’re at home and you’re watching Netflix, there’s a three part series on Bill Gates called the mind to Bill Gates. And I don’t know people have seen that. But I think that’s an extremely interesting view of how someone who’s clearly had a tremendous effect on the world in the last 40 years. has, has done things. And then another book that I just was recently reading with a team of teams by Stanley McChrystal, where he has to talk about how that something has stayed and as the military how they had to try to adapt in Iraq. For the environment that they were in, and I think that’s a very interesting book on adaptability,
Kimberly Kane 50:05
as well. Fantastic. I appreciate the insights from all of you the amount of time that each of you has carved out of what I know are non stop days in the lines of work that he was in. So thank you so much for joining us. Thank you very much to everyone who has joined the webinar as well. I’ve been watching the questions come on up in the chat section. So really appreciate your participation. after this is over, I think if you have signed up for the webinar, or you’ve signed up for our newsletters, we’ll make sure to send out a summary to everyone. And I would like to make sure that we’re including the names of these books, these resources in that summary. So we all have access to information that can help us learn how to become more agile leaders. So Mayor Cory Mason, Kenneth Monson, john Kissinger, gentlemen, thank you again very much for your time today.
Kimberly Kane 50:58
So Sarah has just put up a slide This is our first webinar. So thanks again to everybody for joining us and kind of working through some of the kinks with us as we’ve taken this first webinar on, but it certainly won’t be our last. We have another great topic coming up next Friday, the focus will be on the workplace, you know, employer of choice as a status that many businesses aspire to. But in this new environment we find ourselves in when restrictions begin to lift in the coming months, I think so much is shifting in terms of the relationship that leaders have with their employees that employers are going to need to have with prospective employees. So the actions that businesses are taking today to care for their employees may really impact their employer brand for years to come. So we have Ted Balistreri, owner of Sendik’s food market, joining us for that conversation, along with a few other panelists that are already in the works. So we hope you can join us for that panel. Next week. You can register for that webinar on our website right now. So once again, gentlemen, thank you again for your time. Have a phenomenal day.